Teenagers tend to shortchange themselves on sleep, but when they have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), that can really hamper their thinking skills, researchers say.
The new study included teen volunteers with ADHD who spent a week in which their sleep was restricted to 6.5 hours per night. That was followed by a week in which they were allowed to sleep up to 9.5 hours each night.
After each of those weeks, the researchers assessed the teens for working memory, planning and organization, emotional control, initiation and inhibition.
All of those areas showed significant declines after the sleep-restriction week, compared with the week when the teens were allowed more shuteye, the study findings showed.
Chaya Fershtman, a research assistant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, was scheduled to present the findings Monday at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“Increased sleep may significantly [and positively] impact academic, social and emotional functioning in adolescents with ADHD, and sleep may be an important future target for future intervention,” the researchers said in a meeting news release.
The findings are believed to be the first of their kind in young people with ADHD.
ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders among children and teens, and it often causes problems with focus, attention and time management.
Executive function problems in children and teens may interfere with school performance, social skills and emotional development.
Previous research has found that a lack of sleep contributes to poorer executive functioning in typically developing teens, but teens with ADHD had not been studied.
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